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All About Ireland

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St. Patrick's Day is the one time of the year where a little European country across a very big pond is hailed and celebrated in the U.S. Bet you didn’t know these interesting facts about Ireland and the Irish!

1. Many Irish family names start with "Mac" or "O'...", which means respectively "son of ..." and "grandson of ..." in Gaelic.

2. Ireland is a snake-free island. It’s isolated from the European mainland, so it also lacks several species that are common elsewhere in Europe, such as moles, weasels, polecats and roe deer.

3. In 2012, 34.1 million Americans claimed Irish descent — or seven times the number of 4.6 million who live in Ireland itself.

4. There are at least 16 towns named Dublin in the United States.

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5. The three most famous symbols of Ireland are the green Shamrock, the harp, and the Celtic cross.. There’s plenty of Irish blood in Hollywood. Legendary actors including Harrison Ford, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Mel Gibson and Ben Affleck are of Irish descent.

6. Ironically, St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was Roman. He is said to have used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

7. The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia. It’s a 470 acre townland in the civil parish of Kilcummin in County Galway, Ireland.

8. Halloween was derived from an Irish festival called Samhain.

9. Ireland has created some of the most recognizable objects we know. The infamous RMS Titanic was built in Belfast. The White House was designed by Irish architect James Hoban after he won a competition sponsored by President George Washington and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson in 1792. And the Oscar statuette handed out at the Academy Awards was designed by Cedric Gibbons, who was born in Dublin in 1893.

10. The color originally associated with St. Patrick wasn’t green, it was blue. Also, people in Ireland don’t wear green clothes on St. Patrick’s Day like Americans; a sprig of shamrock on your clothes is sufficient.

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